Thursday, September 28, 2006

snaps: vol. 17

I'll be out of pocket for a couple of days, so I thought I'd overload you with pics for a good weekend send off!

Ivan tries to help out with Dominique in any way he can. When he hears her crying, he will go up to her and say: "Dominique, hey, hey, hey", his own signature calm down call reminiscent of the Fonz or someone really cool. Here, he must have gotten desperate. He got my breast pump and tried to suction milk out of his belly to feed the baby. Unfortunately it didn't work.

You can't tell from the picture, but Ivan is using a floss container (that he retrieved from the garbage) as a pretend dart. All through out the day, he will go to the dart room, pretend he's throwing things at it and yell "ping" imitating the computerized voice. Then he will laugh and dance and walk away mumbling incomprehensible words about his little solo match with the board.

Ivan loves Big Buddy, and his cane, and his walker, and his motorised wheelchair. He rode home with Big Buddy this night.

Ivan's showing you where his new teeth are coming in. He's a drooling mess these days, so we should really let him go shirtless more often. Skin is the best wash and wear material!

Grandpa shows his captive audience the intriguing things he can watch on his computer (namely videos from this blog!)

Future swimmer?

or AFV (America's Funniest Videos) star?

with love from the Baggett duo- have a good one!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

gotta keep up!

I find my kids hillarious, I hope you are too. I'm trying to keep up with all their great, original, never seen before material. It just spews out of their pores! So here's a video for each of them.

Ivan wants so bad to mow the lawn and use the weed eater. He is constantly going under the tarp (where we have our lawn equipment) and "using" the tools. Here he is trying out the weed eater. I shot this by sticking the camera in a hole and aiming towards where I thought he was, my little spying camera trick!

This was from the day we dedicated Dominique. Big buddy came after all the crowd had left. He says he's shy around crowds because he's old and not in the best of health, but I think it didn't hurt that he had her all to himself either!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

spin the kid

I don't know how old this game is, but I think everyone has had a grandparent or parent play this with them. When Ivan watched this video, he kept saying: "oh no, Iwa"

Monday, September 25, 2006

Just spit it out Ivan

Most the time we have no idea what Ivan is trying to say, but this time it was quite clear!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

a weekend of celebrations

Some weekends it seems we have nothing going on, then we have weekends like this one. We hosted Dominique's dedication, which on paper was "come and go" between 2-4pm, but we had friends over until past 6pm. These are some of my favorite pictures from the grand event.

To give you a bit of the scope of it all, I had made about a dozen batches of a dozen cookies each, two big bowls of spicy cheese dip, over 2 lbs of tortilla chips, a cake and about 7 gallons of punch and it all pretty much went. We had two big waves of friends come by and that was just those that could make it. The day was unbelievably special and good. Words can not describe the wonder of it.
I knew I had this huge smile stuck on my face the whole time, but could not stop the joy from exuding from my innermost being. It was so otherworldly to gaze on the precious face and little body of my daughter as friends spoke words of power and life and love over her. I remember having the same feeling when we dedicated Ivan, that of an exponential increase of my awe towards him and now of her, a sense of humbleness in knowing her and great expectation for her life. Sometimes when we are with them day in and day out, the honor and the supernaturalness gets missed between the dirty diapers and tantrums and hohum bustle of the day. May I not forget the sheer beauty of this event, may it come over me many times, throughout our lives, especially in the trying times, this delightful knowledge that I am in the presence of a supernatural, God-blessed and given gift in my daughter and son.

After Dominque's dedication, we headed over to a neighbor's birthday party barbecue. I love this family. They have all sorts of family (all spanish) over and all their kids and they just party all night, or so it seems.
We left at 10pm out of sheer exhaustion and they still had to cut the cake. Actually, everyone had a good laugh over us, because Brian took Ivan home to bathe him and when I got in the door with Dominique I asked Brian where Grandpa Ray was. We had left him at the party, neither of us telling him we were heading home.

So I went back, and here comes Grandpa Ray out of the house with a stream of hispanics, excitedly exclaiming that we missed the singing of happy birthday! Poor Ivan was so overwhelmingly exhausted, but didn't want to leave early... I mean all the other kids were taking to the street to play football (10:30pm). He cried and wailed and yelled: "Ala" from the window (our little friend Ale was still there somewhere in the crowd).

Today we had two more parties, a kid's birthday party which I left early so that I could show up late to a baby shower. Needless to say we are all played out and quite contented!

What are must haves at your favorite kind of party?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Living it up!

The weather has been beautiful for hanging out, going for walks and taking in the fresh beauty, except for the mosquitoes that are ferocious little beasts, but you can't have everything perfect! Ivan and Grandpa Ray have been playing all sorts of games. Ivan likes the rambunctious, falling down kind of games the best. We knew from birth he was all boy, having farted and burped fresh out of the womb, now I guess he's just reinforcing his point. He was watching a video (I will have to post) where he was being spun by grandpa (as seen in the picture) and when he was set down, he kept falling over. As Ivan watched himself, he repeatedly exclaimed: "oh, no I-yah" (that's how he pronounces his name). Anything that falls (or most often is thrown) gets his exclamation: "oh no". And when he wants to change activities or not have anything anymore, he says: "bye-bye ___". What I find hillarious is that whatever he is saying bye to always has a name even if he doesn't know what it is. Like "bye-bye beee" for putting away a tool.

Todays tender moments go to the sis and her bro. I had her on the couch as I tried to get Ivan's shoes and when she started crying, Ivan went up to her and said: "Maymay, hey, hey, hey" trying to calm her down. He also showed her toys and did get her to stop screaming when I was occupied baking today and she was on the floor. The best moment was at supper. Everyone had left except for the slowest eater in the world if it is something healthy. Ivan was munching for an hour or so and he kept looking over to Dominique on my knee and gently caressing her face. She was cooing at him and watching his every move. Of course she watches him very carefully with varying expressions. Usually it's a hillarious look of cautious alert- like is this wild young beast going to hurt me, scare me, kiss me or what? I admit, his wild shenanigans around her make me nervous at times too!

Tomorow we are dedicating Dominique to the Lord at our house, so I baked a cake, peanut butter cookies and choc. chip cookies. I'm not going to use the oven for another year! In any case, I wanted to invite you to the celebration. I'm not sure how to e-mail snacks to you and I don't think a picture will be quite as tantalizing as the real deal, but you can help us by writing a prayer, blessing or words of encouragement for Dominique. We believe words are powerful, so we have invited friends to come and speak life and goodness and strength over her now while she's young. If you want to send a message for Dominique, e-mail me (if you don't know my address, you can e-mail me from my profile to the side).

What's your favorite kind of cookie, favorite desert and favorite snack?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Where are the grapes?

By the time all the produce was clean, there were no grapes left. I think Ivan enjoyed himself very much as he "helped" get supper ready.

The meal we had is probably the most exotic/weird dish we make, but is most delicious. I think it originates from Texas and was called Texas pile up and had chips in it, then mom got ahold of it and made it healthier, then I started making it and added my own twist... Brian and I call it meal-in-one because it has all the food groups in it.

Just make a bunch of rice and cut up all sorts of vegetables, fruit, nuts. We like any fruit we have, even shredded coconut or bananas, apples... plus veggies like onions, green peppers, tomatoes, shredded lettuce (whatever), nuts if you have them and grated cheese. Make spicy ground beef (or turkey). I add a ton of curry, some hot sauce and salsa and ginger if I have it. Make a base of rice on your plate, layer the spicy meat next, then add whatever toppings you like- veggies and cheese then top it off with the fruit and nuts. Every bite is different and oh so good ;) I didn't think it would be good and stubbornly separated all the foods the first time mom made it, then I got a little adventurous and tasted a mixed forkful and I've loved it ever since. I guess mom was right after all!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

snaps: vol. 16- all about Dominique

The picture with the flowers is our crepe myrtle bush now blooming. I tried to add the picture to yesterday's post, but some days they just won't go through.

Grandpa Ray is doing a stellar job. While I was at swimming last night and Brian was getting food chopped for supper, "papa Rayyyyyyyy" (as Ivan says it in a real nasal tone) managed to put Dominique to sleep. She wanted to nurse and I asked him if he gave her some of the bottle of milk I had pumped earlier that was in the fridge "we had milk? what milk?" was his reply. So not only did he put her to sleep, but he did it the hard way. She was laying on his chest quite content when I came in, but woke up before I could get a picture.

Likewise, I meant to get a video of him and Ivan playing. I have no idea what they were doing, but Ivan was extremely wired and laughing and falling down. At one moment I heard grandpa say: "oh,oh, I shouldn't have taught you that. Forget you saw that and don't tell your mommy". I don't know what they were doing, but now everything Ivan does bad will be grandpa's fault (ha, ha, just joking).

It's hard to keep Ivan away from the ugliness of life and I know that is not my job in life, but I'd really rather him not dwell on the evil in our world. It seems like whenever we visit Big Buddy in the evenings there is something awful on, even if it's just a commercial. Ivan saw an actress pretending to be a dead cut up body. Why do they show all that these days? Ivan kept trying to look at it, despite my efforts yelling: sleep? sleep? I told him yes, that person is sleeping. Have you noticed that a steady diet of CSI and all these murder mystery shows can get you paranoid? I know there are murders and serial killers and pedophiles, rapes... but the media and shows seem to dwell on all that 24-7 and it can make you feel like walking outside is not safe. I know my cousins and I saw a scary show for kids when we were young and both of us had nightmares for years. It was awful. With our contacts in the ministry we are a part of, we've been to tons of funerals and hospitals and experience through our friends more death and sickness than the average person- often early, unexpected deaths, but I'd rather we be on the side of hope and love and friendship through all that, instead of focussing on all that goes wrong in this world.

Didn't mean to get all heavy with that.

What scared you as a kid?
and on the lighter side, which Dominique picture do you like best?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

beautiful Abilene

After all my wining and complaining about our hot and dry Texas summer, I can now honestly say that it is splendid here. With some recent rains, the entire city turned a glorious green and to our great surprise, we have flowers blooming. I had actually forgotten what color our crepe myrtle was since it hasn't ever bloomed (it is coming out with white flowers), our Texas sage, seen here with Ivan is more purple now than green and our transplanted flowers from Big Buddy's give us pretty purple blooms each morning. But the real zinger is that our hundreds of seeds are making plants now that the temps are cooler. We had thrown out 2 packages and then a whole box of wildflowers and were hugely disappointed when only a few measly plants struggled through our summer heat. Now we have hundreds of little flower plants. I hope they will get to bloom before it gets too cold for them!

Of course our prettiest flower, who also came past the time we were expecting her to come is our little smiling, cooing daughter.

Grandpa Ray came bearing gifts. Here are a couple of them: a brown eyed sheep and a blue eyed one. She seemed to like them. They have numbers on them, so maybe they are sheep for counting to go to sleep! Another bonus, Dominique likes to sleep longer in the cool of our room as long as I bundle her up real good. She slept until 7am this mornign ;) ahhhh sleep, what joy!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Rodeo videos

Here are the six white horses as they come out of their circle formation. They managed to gallop into several formations and demonstrate their flags quite beautifully.

I was trying to get a video of Ivan saying "oh,oh", which he says all the time and was a constant through out the rodeo as barrels, equipment and riders fell all evening. Then all of a sudden... well you'll see.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

When in Texas...

I've had a small list of things I must do in Texas. I already attended a monster car rally and the rattlesnake round up, I've been to Galveston, Austin, Dallas and many towns in between. And last night, I crossed off one of the biggies on my list: attend a rodeo. Every year the rodeo comes to town, but this is the first time I've been able to go and my first rodeo ever. I had such a blast. It was very entertaining and way better than the monster car rally and rattlesnake roundup, which to me were one time events... just to say that I had done it.

I was pretty much out of my element, but I soon started making correlations. This is the zamboni guy. He cleans the ice- um I mean the dirt, before the game- competition? heats? whatever.

Andrea, here are the six white horses. I was excited to see them again and to my delight, they do more than march in front of parades. They were incredible. These ladies had the horses galopping around the ring doing all sorts of formations. Then there was the entrance of the referees (well, they were like refs. they heerded the horses and cattle between heets, threw flags for penalties and even climbed up a wall when the action got too close (a bull wanted to take one of them down). Some high school girls sang the anthem and there was a touching memorial for a deceased big wig in Abilene Rodeo. His wife and daughter rode on a carriage behind a rider and a lone horse with no rider. It got pretty spicy though when one of the horses started throwing a fit (and was still attached to the carriage and his horse partner). They eventually had to untie the horse and they asked if anyone has ever had a toddler throw a fit like that. Yep, only I didn't have a dozen cowboys to get him back under controle. That would be handy. 1-800-toddler-fit rescue team!

There was bareback bronco riding, team roping, single guy roping, bull riding, barrel racing, cowboys on itty bitty motorbikes racing, clowns... one bull even did the head down and scratch the dirt move while the clown sprayed him with silly string. There were plenty of adds, but they were done with awesome horses galloping in formations around the arena, and then a truck with people hucking t-shirts into the audience and Ivan and I caught a t-shirt (ok, retrieved it from the floor where it landed right at our feet)! We saw bulls getting rowdy in the pens. They didn't get the first gate open for a bull to go through and the second bull kept pushing the first bull and trying to climb over him. At one point, the first bull almost flipped upside down under the second bull who was pushing on him. The first bull's legs were all scrunched up and his hinney way in the air on top of the second bull's head. It was very dramatic and intense. Those beasts are huge and mean! The beautiful, sparkling rodeo queen in her sequined shirt and cowboy attire found Ivan and I and came to greet us. It was all great. At moments I could imagine life on a ranch- well at least the spectacular ranch moments.

The kids were pretty exhausted after all the excitement and both slept all the way through the night. When's the next rodeo???

Have you ever been to a rodeo? What was your favorite part? What's on your list of things to do where you live that are cultural to your area?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Grandpa Ray!

Grandpa Ray is here to see his grandkids and us, to attend ACU's lectureship and get his dose of "home". After some twenty years or so up in NY, he still calls Texas home.

Last night, we went to artwalk, where we got inspired to paint and draw, then we got home and realized we had kids and were restricted with time and energy to fingerpainting. Grandpa, Daddy and the kids had a picnic downtown while mommy was at swim class, then I got to join them after.

This morning we went to the fair where we saw entries of crafts, photographs, painting and drawings, science fair exhibits, antique paraphenalia, an exotic endangered wild cat show (that was pretty intense since the cats didn't want to perform as it was during their nap time, so instead of obeying, they kept picking fights with each other, keeping the trainers in a constant struggle with them- I'm pretty much sure that this was more entertaining than their original show would have been). We also saw a demonstration by a former rancher who explained to us the ins and outs of milk, milking cows and the pasteurizing process. Ironically I knew much of what he said from breastfeeding information and came away thinking that this guy could pass as a lactation consultant or a very compassionate and understanding father to his nursing wife. Of course, another highlight was the petting zoo. We saw a donkey not even 2 days old and other pettable creatures. Ivan didn't want to touch any of them.

Ivan is currently sitting on the desk, where he busted his lip last night falling off, with the light on, taking the digital camera apart and now trying to put the memory stick in the dvd player. I better go- NOW!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

bagpipers in cowboy country

Dominique saw her first parade last weekend and a fine demonstration of why this is cowboy country and not bagpiping streets. We went to the West Texas Fair and Rodeo parade, filled with floats, marching bands, horses, cars and then for some cultural diversity there come Abilene's 4 bagpipers with a couple of drummers thrown in the mix to fill them out a bit. I was excited to hear some bagpipes, no matter how unimpressive they were.

Shortly after these men in skirts walk down redneck territory, in comes the local favorites: Hardin Simmon's University Cowboy band. They have pinnaz, they have spirit, they have six white horses. Yes, their band includes six white horses ridden by beautiful ladies, then comes the band with their upbeat tunes, impressive attire and crowd pleasing tactics.

It's amazing how much can change in a year. Brian was saying how this time last year we had no idea we would have a daughter. We weren't even pregnant yet, but now, here we are, a foursome.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

2 months already!

Dominique had her 2 month doctor visit today. We have an awesome pedeatrician. He really seems to care and visits and talks and is relaxed about issues, but takes concerns seriously and just makes us feel good about our parenting. Dominique weighs 11lbs 11oz and is 23inches long now (from 9lbs, 20 inches at birth). She seems perfect to us and the doctor didn't see anything to be concerned about either. She smiles and coos and is sleeping pretty good at night.

Our dr.'s philosophy is the same as mine. He asked how Ivan was doing and I said he was great although he throws a tantrum pretty much everyday. I avoided saying that he is headed to the terrible twos because I don't believe in it and apparently neither does our doctor, he said it this way: no matter if you are 4 or 40, it's [tantrums] are about not getting your own way.

He also made me feel assured about potty training. He says our job is not much of anything right now, to let Ivan get on the potty about once a day and read making it a fun thing. He said Ivan should know what the potty is and what should happen there. He said that things will come naturally with time and that it was still early. "If Brian wanted you to do something and he pestered and bugged you about it 20 times a day, that would really get on your nerves wouldn't it?" he asked. Yep, it sure would, especially if it was a skill I hadn't mastered yet. "so just take it easy, relax and let him go at his pace".

I think as a parent, especially in our information saturated and competitive culture, we can easily fall into the trap of thinking that our children's development is a race. We develop unhealthy pride wanting our kid to be first or at least as fast or talented as other kids his age. But it's not a race, it's a journey we travel together, where we are both discovering the way and living adventures. It's a dance where we both have to learn how to step in order to create beautiful harmony. It's a love affair, between different personalities, two different people (one big, one small) sharing life together, loving and learning to love each other. Parenting is community in it's purest form.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Happy belated grandparent day!

OK, so I'm a day late, but I have 2 kids, can I use them as an excuse? I didn't get on the computer yesterday, but we did have a most incredible day. Our adopted grandparent Big Buddy showed us his old places of employment and places where he worked in Abilene. We drove him around the older parts of the city, which was hillarious because he'd point to buildings that have been there decades and say "that wasn't there". City hall used to be a feed lot and he lived around the corner. One of the middle school was the white's high school and he lived down the street from the black's high school. Most of the service stations where he had worked had been torn down, except this one that hasn't been in use in a long time and not as a gas station in ages.
Brian got this great picture of Mr Griffin on the same corner where this other picture was taken from his working days. This is the station Big Buddy retired from. It's such a priviledge to know people who have walked this earth longer and seen the world as we have never known it. I'm glad that we have him in our lives and that our children have their grandparents in their's. (the pictures aren't uploading, I'll try another time)

I've been wanting to get a good family picture, but we need to find someone who can take good pics. or borrow a stand. The pictures are always too far away or blurry or not well framed. Am I too picky? I messed around with these ones, cropping, adjusting the focus and colors, which may work for a blog, but not for a print.

I love photographing my kids, as you can tell. I'm not one for taking pictures of scenery or artistic shots and while I enjoy looking at all sorts of photos by professionals, I like ones with people the most. Pictures are weird. In many places, people believe you are capturing their soul on print and so don't want to be photographed. There is something mystical about them. I mean here we are with our children on our laps, but we are looking at 2 dimensional reproductions of them. I guess photos let us dwell on the moment, enter into it in a different way. There is no way we can reflect on each of the thousands of expressions a person has during a day, but the picture cements the moment in, allowing us the liberties to examine, relish and live the moment over and over again.

Do you enjoy taking pictures? What do you like to photograph most? Do you like looking at professional photographs in a museum? Why do you think pictures are so fun?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

loving the weather!

The weather right now is so pristine. With our recent rains, everyone's lawns turned green, flowers are healthy looking, there is a moistness in the air, a fresh, clean smell and coolness. I don't ever remember cherishing rain so much. I guess not having makes us so much more appreciative when the relief comes. The air is cooling off at nights. It reminds me so much of a Saskatchewan summer. I just feel like living outside!

What have you learned to appreciate anew?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It's a hard enough life

Here's Dominique helping me with the laundry. I devised this system of carying baby and laundry when I had Ivan, for those days when all the baby devices just won't do and the child wants to be right where you are and there are no clean clothes left in the house... Before all the grands have fits.... this was a clean load.

I folded and refolded them as I juggled both her and Ivan, who undid my efforts, creating more laundry to fold and she is so tired she fell asleep??? People say that a dog's life is easy. I think being a baby would be far more rewarding. Exciting new tastes, sights and sounds, parents and grandparents that dote on you, an entire world who thinks you are oh so cute...

Dominique has been developing and it is so great to watch. She can see better now and her favorite thing to watch is smiling faces and her brother. It's so cool to watch her eyes follow her brother all over. I'm imagining this is both out of curiosity, affection and self preservation.

Ivan has also made my heart glad. I almost fear writing this, not wanting to cause anything that might break the pattern, but he has eaten well three suppers in a row- vegetables, starches and meats. Normally he just wants to pick out the starch and later eat bread!

Today was really a splendid day. It was cooler than it has been (83 or so, about 25 Celsius) and there was a hint of coolness in the air. We've had rain the last two weekends and everything has turned green. I was supposed to meet with a neighbor during nap time, but was pleased that she forgot, because I was mentally tired and felt like I needed a break. I got one when Ivan slept. Dominique and I went outside and she did a marathon nursing session while I read and we sat in the hammock. It was just so good to be out. It felt like a Canadian summer day ;)